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Meet Matt Berrett - Former Associate Director of the CIA!

 
Matt Berrett

The IOGP will be welcoming Matt Berrett, former associate director of the CIA, to campus on Jan. 31. He will be speaking about how intelligence agencies balance work amidst the pressure and influence of lawmakers. Please join us at 5 p.m. in the Merrill-Cazier Library room 101 for this free discussion. Free pizza will be served. Below, the IOGP conducted an interview with Matt Berrett to get to know him better.


IOGP: What does your current job as the Director of Analytics at USU's Space Dynamics lab entail?
MB: One of my key tasks is to help the Lab engage across the US Intelligence Community, which—by design—is an opaque, challenging world to enter and navigate.

IOGP: What is the most interesting thing to have happened to you lately?
MB: Taking up snowboarding as a 58-year-old. On the work front, with my view of the private sector’s dramatic expansion into the satellite business, I’m fascinated by the implications of today’s quickly advancing means of gathering data on human thoughts and actions and deriving from those data accurate predictions about future behavior. 

IOGP: What was the most exciting part of your job with the CIA?
MB: Serving in positions that gave me direct access to the country’s most senior decision-makers, including several US presidents. Two quick examples: Meeting daily and traveling with Vice President Cheney while being his intelligence briefer in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, and attending National Security Council meetings (chaired by President Bush) when I was Director of CIA’s Office of Iraq Analysis. More recently, I was the Director of the multiagency enterprise—the President’s Daily Brief—that delivers the premier intelligence and analytic report to the White House each morning. And last, since you asked, I’ll add that traveling to dangerous places also could be rather exciting, such as when the helicopter I was in over Afghanistan drew ground fire. 

IOGP: What is your advice to students wanting to pursue careers in the intelligence community?
MB: A few things come to mind: (1) Get as much exposure to foreign lands, peoples, languages, and cultures as possible; (2) get good grades; and (3) stay informed on global events.  For doing the latter, I find a weekly reading of The Economist Magazine front to finish hard to beat in sheer efficiency.